X'ed Out

by Charles Burns

Hardcover, 2010

Status

Available

Series

Publication

Pantheon, (2010)

Description

"Doug is in bad shape. All the drugs in the world won't shut out the images that haunt his fevered dreams-- fetal pigs, razor blades, black cats, open wounds-- and eggs. Let's not forget the eggs" -- p. [4] of cover.

Media reviews

Wie ein Horror-Trip auf LSD - Charles Burns hat gegenwärtig den härtesten Strich aller amerikanischen Comic-Zeichnern, die stärksten Konturen, das tiefste Schwarz. Nach "Black Hole" ist "X" seine neue Chronik der amerikanischen Jugend der Siebziger - verstörend, deformiert, apokalyptisch. Ein Trip, wie man ihn sonst nur von William S. Burroughs oder David Lynch kennt.

User reviews

LibraryThing member mikewick
Ever read Tintin? If you haven't, and you've picked up Burns's X'ed Out, you're doing yourself a great disservice. Without that background, you won't get the obvious and somewhat heavy-handed allusions to Herge's masterpiece that are sprinkled throughout. I'm not saying I don't enjoy Burns riffing on one of his influences, because that's one of the best parts of X'ed Out, the young adult in the midst of such angst that he feels like a stranger in a strange land--which is where Tintin was in every adventure, a displaced individual. Everything about this large-format graphic novel was fantastic: the artwork is beautiful, the colors bright, and the storyline engaging to the point of leaving me awfully disappointed when it ended so abruptly. I'll be anxiously anticipating the next installment, hoping it'll follow up more quickly than this took to follow up on his masterpiece, Black Hole.… (more)
LibraryThing member dr_zirk
X'ed Out seems to have the potential to develop into one of Charles Burns' major works. While this first installment leaves many unanswered questions, it nevertheless gets the narrative off to an intriguing start, rich with dreams and memories that may or may not reflect the protagonist's own reality. With plenty of visual nods to the classic Tintin adventures, it seems likely that Burns has some larger scheme in mind that cannot be fully revealed until later volumes in the series, but with great storytelling and lush color illustrations, X'ed Out seems a decent harbinger of great things to come.… (more)
LibraryThing member jasonlf
A short graphic novel, the first installment of a trilogy. One cannot fully judge the merits of this volume when the other two come out. In many places, it is an elliptical, dreamlike tease. If the future volumes do more to tie all of this together, then this might be the beginning of a brilliant graphic novel. If not, then I would be somewhat disappointed.

The story is told in multiple drug/dream-like episodes of a young man taking pills, experimenting with performance art, having a relationship with a good relationship with a photographer and a bad relationship with his father, and flashbacks or dreams about the past or future – including an opening and closing episode in a world inhabited by cigarette-loving, one-eyed aliens who cook giant red and white eggs. Some of the images – including the cover – are deliberate references to Tintin, although to what end I could not figure out.

The artwork is well done, the episodes interesting, and it ends on a cliffhanger that makes me suspect that the next volumes will give one a highly favorable retrospective judgment on this opening. But by itself, it is incomplete.
… (more)
LibraryThing member JonathanGorman
I've enjoyed Burns work for quite a while, stumbling across some as a kid (his Hard-Boiled Decfective Stories book, as an EC fan loved the cover). I've always been excited when stumbling across more of his work.

This is a solid work, with surreal images, bizarre looking people, trippy mental states.

My only complaint would be that it's too short, leaving me wanting more.
… (more)
LibraryThing member gsmattingly
Strange, depressing but entertaining graphic novel. First in a series. Makes me think of William Burroughs, probably on purpose since Burroughs is mentioned.
LibraryThing member flyear
I maybe change the rating if I could read the sequel of it. Right now, the first chapter is way too ambiguous and strange. I can sense author has a big picture in his mind. However, the story just stops before something which could be meaningful. The next chapter may explain the story and make the whole as a great one. Maybe not. Whatever it will be, I don't think the current one is a good way to release a series. It simply kill readers' interests and push them away. Maybe it could be better if two chapters come out together or more contents are added into chapter one. It feels bad I spend time on this well-illustrated book and get nothing. I wish the second one could come out as soon as possible. Or I will forget the story at all.

Many people gave high-ratings here because it "seems" a great things to come and it's the same author writing Black Hole. Black Hole is a fine one which, actually, brought me to this one. However, I don't think it's objective to give a work high-ratings only based on its potential. You never know what will come next! Only the next chapter will let us know. But after reading this beginning, I really care less about what will come.
… (more)
LibraryThing member clstaff
WEIRD! in capital letters because it was REALLY weird. I wrote really in capital letters to show that it was EXTRA weird. The art was awesome! Cool story, but a bit weird.
LibraryThing member wilsonknut
POSSIBLE SPOILERS

It should be common knowledge by now that X’ed Out, the first volume of a new trilogy by Charles Burns, is chock full of weirdness, mystery, and beautiful artwork. The book is part revision of Hergé’s TinTin, part tribute to William Burroughs, part Alice in Wonderland, and something new yet to be revealed. Within all of that, there are some interesting themes that I’m sure Burns will expand on in the next two volumes.

Doug, the protagonist, has suffered some mystery trauma and spends most of his time in bed in the basement of his parents’ house looking at old Polaroids of his girlfriend. The narrative slips back and forth between this reality, a Burroughs inspired dream world induced by Doug’s painkillers, flashback sequences where Doug meets and falls in love with Sarah (the girl in the Polaroids), and past conversations with Doug’s father.

The idea of motherhood, or more specifically failed motherhood, runs throughout this first volume. Doug’s mother is mentioned, but never seen. Doug and his father both want to avoid her. In one flashback sequence Doug remembers his father saying, “Your Mom and I…We started out with such high hopes…But I guess things don’t always work out the way they’re supposed to.” Like Doug, his father retreats downstairs, which Burns has admitted is a symbol for the womb. Doug comes upstairs for Poptarts and reminds himself that his mom will not be home from work until 5:30 He says, “…at least I don’t have to deal with her.”

Sarah has a thing for fetal pigs in jars, one of which gets broken by her “psycho” ex-boyfriend at the party where Doug meets Sarah. She poses topless with one fetal pig as a Madonna and child (she poses topless a lot). There is a panel of an actual Madonna and child. Lizard-like fetuses and eggs are everywhere in Doug’s dream world. To top it off, a cartoonish version of Sarah appears in the dream world. Doug’s nameless, baby-like alien guide tells him she is the new Queen of the hive, a breeder.

Identity is another interesting issue in the book. Doug’s alter-ego is Nitnit. He puts on a mask that resembles TinTin when he reads his cut-up poetry in reality, perhaps subconsciously wanting to hide from his audience. In his dream world, Doug is Nitnit. Doug also identifies with his father. Like his father, Doug spends his time in the basement looking at photographs and dwelling on the past. Doug’s guide in the dream world smokes like his father and, I would argue, vaguely resembles his father. Adding to that, Nitnit has several visions of his father while he is with the guide.

What does this all mean? It’s too early to tell. The book is short and leaves more questions than answers, but it is only volume one of what should be a great trilogy. Burns has stated in interviews that all of these “threads” will come together in the next two volumes. And let’s not forget the beautiful artwork. I’ve compared Bill Sienkiewicz’s artwork to fever dreams before, but I have to say that Burns has really captured that particular strangeness in his vivid colors and style. The next volume, The Hive, is slated to come out sometime in 2011.
… (more)
LibraryThing member jasonpettus
I'm intrigued so far by Charles Burns' new serial outing, which like "Black Hole" promises to be an unsettling mix of realistic coming-of-age tale with the fantastically grotesque, in a visual style here perhaps best described as Tintin having a bad opium trip. I'll be waiting until all the volumes are out, though, before doing a substantial write-up of the entire thing.… (more)
LibraryThing member darby3
Wonderful. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
LibraryThing member BenjaminHahn
I'm pretty open minded when it comes to books, especially graphic novels, but I was just lost when it came to the Charles Burns volume. His art is great, which is why I picked this up, but its like reading through a comic drug trip. I'm not sure if I would pick up the next volume if I had the chance. Just bizarre.
LibraryThing member EricKibler
At first I thought this was a stand-alone graphic novel, but it's only the first chapter of what promises to be a much longer work. I am intrigued, baffled and creeped out in the same manner that I was intrigued, baffled and creeped out by "Black Hole" when I first read the comic book installments. With "Black Hole", one of the problems of reading it in installment format was the length of time between issues, sometimes a year or more. I would tend to forget key images and plot points that hold the overall story together. But when I finally got hold of the hardcover of BH, it all made sense. As much sense as Burns' work makes, that is.

If you've read Burns' other work, you know what dark, nauseating worlds he creates, and "X'ed Out" is no exception. The narrative alternates between the real-world story of Doug, a young artist, and an alien and mysterious dream world he inhabits. In the dream world, he appears as a dazed, shell-shocked version of the Belgian comic character Tintin, and some of the landscapes in "X'ed Out" resemble the kind of thing you'd see in Tintin, except as seen through a dark lens. Tintin fans will also note that Doug has a black cat named Inky rather than a white dog named Snowy.

I look forward to the next installment.
… (more)
LibraryThing member questbird
A bizarre comic about a sick young man, literally a tortured artist, haunted by repellent dreams. The dreams revolve around his relationship with an equally aberrant photographer. The artwork is excellent and references Tintin -- though it depicts no landscape that he would have been found in. More like H.P. Lovecraft than Hergé. The book is quite short and is the first part of several. I am unsure if I will go back for more.… (more)
LibraryThing member jen.e.moore
Picked up from ALA 2010, a very trippy sort of graphic novel - more story than I thought it had when I first flipped through it, but still not really my thing.
LibraryThing member mrgan
Good art *shrug*
LibraryThing member nosajeel
A short graphic novel, the first installment of a trilogy. One cannot fully judge the merits of this volume when the other two come out. In many places, it is an elliptical, dreamlike tease. If the future volumes do more to tie all of this together, then this might be the beginning of a brilliant graphic novel. If not, then I would be somewhat disappointed.

The story is told in multiple drug/dream-like episodes of a young man taking pills, experimenting with performance art, having a relationship with a good relationship with a photographer and a bad relationship with his father, and flashbacks or dreams about the past or future
… (more)
LibraryThing member sirk.bronstad
You should read this if you're looking for a way to curb your appetite for eggs. If you feel a craving, revisit.
LibraryThing member wilsonknut
POSSIBLE SPOILERS

It should be common knowledge by now that X’ed Out, the first volume of a new trilogy by Charles Burns, is chock full of weirdness, mystery, and beautiful artwork. The book is part revision of Hergé’s TinTin, part tribute to William Burroughs, part Alice in Wonderland, and something new yet to be revealed. Within all of that, there are some interesting themes that I’m sure Burns will expand on in the next two volumes.

Doug, the protagonist, has suffered some mystery trauma and spends most of his time in bed in the basement of his parents’ house looking at old Polaroids of his girlfriend. The narrative slips back and forth between this reality, a Burroughs inspired dream world induced by Doug’s painkillers, flashback sequences where Doug meets and falls in love with Sarah (the girl in the Polaroids), and past conversations with Doug’s father.

The idea of motherhood, or more specifically failed motherhood, runs throughout this first volume. Doug’s mother is mentioned, but never seen. Doug and his father both want to avoid her. In one flashback sequence Doug remembers his father saying, “Your Mom and I…We started out with such high hopes…But I guess things don’t always work out the way they’re supposed to.” Like Doug, his father retreats downstairs, which Burns has admitted is a symbol for the womb. Doug comes upstairs for Poptarts and reminds himself that his mom will not be home from work until 5:30 He says, “…at least I don’t have to deal with her.”

Sarah has a thing for fetal pigs in jars, one of which gets broken by her “psycho” ex-boyfriend at the party where Doug meets Sarah. She poses topless with one fetal pig as a Madonna and child (she poses topless a lot). There is a panel of an actual Madonna and child. Lizard-like fetuses and eggs are everywhere in Doug’s dream world. To top it off, a cartoonish version of Sarah appears in the dream world. Doug’s nameless, baby-like alien guide tells him she is the new Queen of the hive, a breeder.

Identity is another interesting issue in the book. Doug’s alter-ego is Nitnit. He puts on a mask that resembles TinTin when he reads his cut-up poetry in reality, perhaps subconsciously wanting to hide from his audience. In his dream world, Doug is Nitnit. Doug also identifies with his father. Like his father, Doug spends his time in the basement looking at photographs and dwelling on the past. Doug’s guide in the dream world smokes like his father and, I would argue, vaguely resembles his father. Adding to that, Nitnit has several visions of his father while he is with the guide.

What does this all mean? It’s too early to tell. The book is short and leaves more questions than answers, but it is only volume one of what should be a great trilogy. Burns has stated in interviews that all of these “threads” will come together in the next two volumes. And let’s not forget the beautiful artwork. I’ve compared Bill Sienkiewicz’s artwork to fever dreams before, but I have to say that Burns has really captured that particular strangeness in his vivid colors and style. The next volume, The Hive, is slated to come out sometime in 2011.
… (more)

Language

Original language

English

Barcode

10491
Page: 0.2155 seconds